Some of my favorite photos…

 

Nothing more I can say about this… Just enjoy!

Prepare Your Ramadan

Have you ever wondered why it is difficult to concentrate on your prayer? Or why your faith throughout the year is not on a high like it is during Ramadan or through Hajj? Maybe it is because we usually jump straight from a phone conversation into Takbir or because we just go with the flow in Ramadan and are influenced by the environment around us and not our own ‘real’ feelings.

A lot of us usually live life and have our faith dependent on an upcoming major event i.e. “I’m going to start reading a page of Quran a day as soon as Ramadan starts; I’m going to start praying Qiyam every night when I come back from hajj; or, I’m going to stop smoking when my child is born.”  And because of this way of thinking we usually end up with an anticlimax; we don’t end up giving up smoking, we don’t end up praying Qiyam and we start reading Quran but then get back to our normal old self after a few days or weeks.

This is because these ‘statements’ or ‘feelings’ are based on impulse and not a real thought out plan. We usually don’t prepare for Ramadan or Hajj or have a plan for our faith to stay at the increase; we just go with the flow and expect it all to happen. Well, it doesn’t!

Wouldn’t you love to enter the month of Ramadan on a real high and have the effects of this beautiful month be a permanent impact on your life thereafter? How can this be done? Below are the 8 steps for a Legacy of a Ramadan.

Step 1 – Create a Ramadan Count Down (7 days left!)

Counting down for Ramadan (whether it is done mentally or by keeping physical signs around the home or office) will help create hype and buzz in your mind and amongst the people around you. When you and others are counting down to the same event, it becomes part of regular conversation and excitement spreads.

Step 2 – Seek knowledge about Ramadan (Read books!)

This will help you ensure you will do things correctly and perfectly for Ramadan, it will create a hype as there are many motivational aspects and events in the month to look forward to and finally it is a reward reaper.  The more you know about Ramadan the more you can apply, hence multiplying your rewards.

Step 3 – Make a Ramadan plan (Use an Islamic calendar)

Be it reading the entire Quran, ensuring you pray Taraweeh every night or inviting families over for iftaar; make a list of things you would like to achieve in the month and then how you plan on achieving these goals. It is important that goals are realistic and it is better that your life doesn’t need to entirely take a different road in this month (i.e. take the month off work or change work hours etc.) so that you may continue to do these deeds after Ramadan. Knowing what you want to achieve in the month will help you stay focused. Ensure you plan your day every night before you sleep when Ramadan starts (try to continue this even after Ramadan).

Step 4 – Know your life (by thinking deeply)

Be aware if Ramadan affects anything that is happening in the month or shortly after. Do you have exams during Ramadan? Or is there a major family wedding after Ramadan by a short time? Moving house? If so, plan for these events from now. Study now so that you are prepared for the exams before the month starts. Be packed and ready to go before Ramadan or plan that you do it after so that it doesn’t take time away from your worship. The last thing you want to do is spend Ramadan at the shopping centers. Buy any Eid presents and prepare for any wedding before the month starts.

Step 5 – Prepare spiritually

We all know that Ramadan is about Fasting, Praying, Reading Quran and giving in charity. Start these worships early; don’t expect to just click into it as soon as the first day of Ramadan starts. Start doing extra prayers from now, start revising and regularly reading the Quran now, get used to being generous and follow the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad and fast during Sha’baan.

Step 6 – Prepare your mind

Fasting is to refrain from more than just what we consume in our mouth. Start working on your patience; be extra vigilant with your conversations: ensure you are not backbiting, slandering or talking about useless things.

Step 7 – Say ‘goodbye’ to bad habits (make it stop!)

Know what bad habits you have and stop them from now, don’t wait until Ramadan begins. If you sleep late, start sleeping early, if you are a Facebook junky start cutting down, have a coffee craze, slow it down, etc. It might sound much easier said than done, but once you’ve committed yourself, purified your intentions – make sincere dua for guidance.  Insha’Allah, these bad habits will be easier done with than you ever expected.

Step 8 – Plan your life around your worship (and you will see the results!)

For instance; instead of working through your prayer or setting up a meeting, etc., at prayer times, plan that you have a break at prayer time. Don’t take your phone with you to the place you pray and forget the world as you stand between the hands of the Almighty Allah.

How about you?  What are you doing to prepare for Ramadan?  Let us know in the comments section!


Taken with slight changes from https://productivemuslim.com

Al-Isra’ and Al-Mi’raj: How and Why?

Prophet Muhammad was fully aware that he could no longer rely on his own clan, the Hashimites, for any measure of firm support. He felt himself alone in the whole world. His few followers were no match for the forces opposing him. Yet he firmly believed in the truth of the message he was preaching. His faith in God did not waver. At this point, something unusual happened to him…..

Prophet Muhammad was fully aware that he could no longer rely on his own clan, the Hashimites, for any measure of firm support. He felt himself alone in the whole world. His few followers were no match for the forces opposing him. Yet he firmly believed in the truth of the message he was preaching. His faith in God did not waver. At this point, something unusual happened to him.

One night, as the Prophet was asleep in the home of his cousin Umm Hani in Makkah, the Angel Gabriel came and woke him up and took him by hand to the mosque, where he found an animal smaller than a mule but slightly bigger than a donkey. The animal, which was a quadruped, also had two wings and floated easily as he moved with unimaginable speed.

The Prophet’s own description of his movement was that “he put his foot at the furthest point to his side”. Together, the Prophet and Gabriel rode the animal, which was called Al-Buraq, a name derived from ‘Barq‘, meaning lightning. In no time at all, they reached Jerusalem in Palestine.

There the Prophet met prophets Abraham, Moses, Jesus and other noble prophets. He led them all in Prayer. He was then brought three cups: one contained milk, another contained wine, and the third contained water. He drank milk. When he had finished, Gabriel said, “You and your nation are rightly guided.”

When they had finished their business in Jerusalem, they flew up to heaven. The Prophet tells us that as they entered each of the seven heavens Gabriel would conform to its guardian angel that Muhammad had already received his mission. In each heaven, he met one or other of the prophets who preached the message of God’s Oneness to mankind. Among those mentioned in the authentic accounts of this very special journey were Adam, Jesus, John, Joseph, Moses, and Abraham (peace be upon them all).

He also saw examples of the suffering which would be endured by certain groups of people, as they would be condemned to hell in the hereafter. The description of these groups and their suffering is so vivid that one can almost see them in their plight, yet the suffering was so horrible that one would do anything to escape it.

Muhammad’s Encounter With Moses
The Prophet was then admitted into Paradise and saw examples of the happiness to be enjoyed by those who would seek God’s pleasure and do His bidding. Here the Prophet was delighted with what he saw and expressed his wish that all his followers would be able to partake of such enjoyments.

While he was in Paradise he was informed of the obligatory Prayers he and his followers were expected to offer. As he passed Moses on his way back, Moses asked him about this particular point of Prayer. When Prophet Muhammad informed him that Muslims would be required to pray 50 times each day, Moses counseled him to go back and pray to God to reduce this requirement.

Moses explained by saying: “Prayers constitute a heavy burden and your nation is weak.” The Prophet acted on this advice, and God reduced this obligation to 40 prayers each day.

When he stopped by Moses again, Moses repeated the same advice. Again the Prophet acted on it. The whole procedure was repeated several times until the obligatory Prayers for Muslims were reduced to five times daily. Moses still thought they were hard to observe and counseled the Prophet to request a further reduction. The Prophet, however, felt too shy to do that.

The Prophet then returned to Makkah, having been absent only for part of the night; he returned just before dawn. On this unique trip, he witnessed the expanse of the universe as well as the link between our life in this world and the greater and larger life of the other world. God also wanted him to see other signs and symbols which filled his blessed heart with unshakeable faith.

Since he was taken on that unique journey from the house of his cousin Umm Hani’, where he was staying that night, it was to her house that he returned. Everyone in the house soon woke up. When they had finished their dawn Prayers, the Prophet told Umm Hani’ about his journey.

A firm believer, she accepted what the Prophet related as true. When he was about to leave, intending to go to the mosque, she stopped him, saying: “I fear that people would not believe you if you tell them what you have just told me.” The Prophet made clear his intention to tell them “even though they would not believe me”.

Narrating the Unthinkable
When he was sitting in the mosque, he was totally absorbed in his thoughts. Abu Jahl, the arch-enemy of Islam, noticed that and came up to him to ask: “Any news?” The Prophet replied: “Yes. I was taken last night to Jerusalem.” Making sure that he had heard him correctly, Abu Jahl asked: “To Jerusalem?” The Prophet’s clear answer came in the affirmative.

Realizing that there was a chance to consolidate the opposition to Muhammad and his message, Abu Jahl asked him: “If I call the others to come over, would you repeat to them what you have just told me?” Unhesitatingly, the Prophet said: “Yes.”Thus Abu Jahl did what the Prophet intended to do, that is, to gather the people so that he would tell them about his journey.

When the Prophet had finished his story, everybody was expressing disbelief in one way or another. Some people clapped, some put their hands over their heads and others jeered. One of them asked about the caravan the Quraysh had sent to Syria. The Prophet gave a detailed answer on its conditions and specified its arrival time.

They went out at the appointed time and, to their surprise, there was the caravan in exactly the same condition the Prophet had described. Yet that did not influence or weaken their opposition to the Prophet.

As the Prophet’s account of his journey was completed, there were many unbelievers going around into every quarter in Makkah to relate what sounded to them the most incredible story ever told. Some of them went straight to Abu Bakr, the Prophet’s closest friend, to tell him and to find out what his reaction would be.

Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) first accused them of bringing him false stories. When they assured him that Muhammad actually claimed to have made the return journey to Jerusalem overnight, Abu Bakr’s answer was: “If he has actually said this, he is telling the truth.” When they expressed their amazement that he would believe such a singular story, Abu Bakr said: “What is so surprising? I believe him when he says something even more incomprehensible. He says he receives revelations from God and I believe him.”

Abu Bakr then went to the mosque where people were still gathered around the Prophet expressing their disbelief. He asked the Prophet whether he made the statement that he went to Jerusalem and came back on the same night. When he heard the Prophet’s affirmative reply, Abu Bakr said: “I believe you; you always tell the truth.” Then he asked the Prophet to describe Jerusalem.

As the Prophet went on with his description, Abu Bakr kept repeating his words: “I believe you; you always tell the truth.” The Prophet was so pleased with Abu Bakr that he gave him the title As-Siddiq, which denotes ‘a true and firm believer’. This was Abu Bakr’s most cherished title which he kept for the rest of his life.

A small number of people rejoined the unbelievers after accepting Islam. The Prophet, however, was not influenced by their apostasy. He continued to preach his message with unshaken determination.

Direct Confrontation with Adversity
Two points need to be made here: the first concerns the example provided by the Prophet for all advocates of Islam. He faced the Quraysh with his story, fully aware that he would be accused of telling lies. That did not influence his determination to do what was required of him.

The interests of his message came first. People’s accusations could not weaken his resolve.

The point is that people may accept the idea of revelations but turn away from Islam for lesser reasons. In this case, they found it difficult to accept the idea that God could take His Messenger on a journey like this while they believed that He would inspire him with His words, sending down His angel messenger to convey His message.

In other cases, people may opt for disbelief for even less important reasons. That, however, should not weaken our resolve to follow in the footsteps of the Prophet and his noble companions.

There is no doubt that the night journey was a very effective morale booster for the Prophet. He was, after all, a human being who shared in all human emotions of sorrow, grief, pleasure, and delight. Only a short time earlier he had lost his wife Khadijah, who was his main source of comfort, and his uncle Abu Talib, who ensured that Muhammad received all the support and protection to which he was entitled, according to the traditions of the Arabian society. Then came that disappointing trip to Ta’if, which was intended to broaden the base of the Islamic message.

It is only natural that Muhammad should feel downhearted after those three major jolts which affected both his personal and his public life. There was no question that his sorrow would affect his faith. Nevertheless, his losses were, by human standards, of huge proportions. Hence, a comforting gesture which gave him first-hand experience of the smallness of this world in relation to the wider universe, and the triviality of what one may experience in this life in relation to what lies in store in the next life, would, as the expression goes, do him the world of good.

There is no doubt that his night journey had a lasting effect on the Prophet. It boosted his confidence in himself and in his message; it enhanced his aspirations and helped put his efforts in the service of his faith on a higher level. Subsequent events show that there was a marked change in his attempts to set the course for his message.

The Universality of the Islamic Message
The night journey was of great significance in more ways than one. Note, for example, that at Jerusalem, Muhammad led the other Prophets in Prayer. It is a well established Islamic concept that the messages of all Prophets were basically the same. They all called on mankind to believe in God, the one and only deity. With Islam, these messages were brought to their full and complete form.

With Muhammad, the line of prophethood reached its end. For the Prophets to pray together at Jerusalem signifies the continuity of their messages and their unity of rank and purpose. Jerusalem thus occupies a unique position as a sacred place for all followers of the Divine religions.

That unique Prayer of the Prophets, led by Muhammad, also signifies that as Islam has crowned all Divine messages and brought them to their final form, Jerusalem, the spot revered by all religions, belongs to the Muslims who follow Muhammad, the recognized leader of all Prophets.

The night journey also stresses the universality of the Islamic message. Muhammad is taken to Jerusalem which, at the time, was inhabited by non-Arabs. He is engaged there in the most religious of human activities before he is taken to heaven. It would have been just as easy for God to raise Muhammad to heaven from his home in Makkah. The fact that He chose to take him to Jerusalem first, to lead his fellow Prophets in Prayer, endorses the fact that Islam is a message for mankind, not for the Arabs alone.

In those congregational Prayers of the Prophets, one also sees a reference to the fact that all the distortion which crept into earlier messages had been pushed aside. A fuller and more complete version of these messages have been revealed and guaranteed by God to remain intact for the rest of time. That version is Islam.

Was It a Physical Journey?
Muhammad’s night journey from Makkah to Jerusalem and thence to heaven, and his return to his home town on the same night was, to a contemporary mind, very much a miracle. Caravans took a whole month to cover the distance between the two cities. How, then, could Muhammad make a return journey overnight, and have a side excursion to Heaven in the same package?

Even to those accustomed to today’s jet travel and to the notion of supersonic speed, the event can only be classified as supernatural. Hence questions have always been raised about the true aim of this journey and its nature. More precisely, people wonder whether it was a ‘spiritual’ or physical Journey.

The Qur’an answers the first question clearly. The chapter entitled The Night Journey or Al-Israa’, opens with this verse:

“Exalted is He who took His Servant by night from al-Masjid al-Haram to al-Masjid al- Aqsa, whose surroundings We have blessed, to show him of Our signs. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Seeing.” [Al-Quran, surah Al-Isra, verse 1].

The whole object of the journey, then, was that the Prophet would have a chance to see some of God’s signs. What these were, we are not told. Seeing them, however, had a greatly reassuring effect on Muhammad, since it enabled him to experience at first hand the limitless ability of God the Creator.

This was bound to put the dispute in which he had been engaged with the Makkans into perspective. It exhibited before his eyes the true nature and the real might of the two camps: his own, in which God is an active participant, and that of the unbelievers.

Hence, it is not surprising that the following years of his life were free of any feelings of weakness or downheartedness. He remained to the last day of his life unaffected by adversity, certain that he would be victorious as long as he and his followers were true believers, sincere in their intentions and actions.

Here, one should emphasize that the journey was not a miracle with the aim of persuading the unbelievers to accept the faith. It was not one of the types of miracles which was given to other Prophets as evidence of their truthfulness.

The unbelievers had actually challenged the Prophet to go up into heaven, but he refused their challenge, as he refused all their other challenging requests. His answer to all such requests was:

Or you have a house of gold or you ascend into the sky. And [even then], we will not believe in your ascension until you bring down to us a book we may read.” Say, “Exalted is my Lord! Was I ever but a human messenger?” [Al-Quran, surah Al-Isra, verse 93].

When he actually rose to heaven, he did not portray the fact as a reply for their challenge. Hence, one needs to understand the night journey in its proper light: it was merely an act of God to reassure His Messenger at a time when such reassurance was needed for the proper conveyance of His message.

The majority of Islamic scholars are of the opinion that the night journey was not purely ‘spiritual’. They believe, as does the present author, that the Prophet did physically, in body and spirit, go on this journey. Some people may find this hard to believe because it involves preternatural powers. The answer is that whatever powers such a journey required, they were easy for God to provide.

Look back only one hundred years and imagine what would have been the reaction of people if someone had told them that anyone would be able to travel the distance between Bahrain and London in a little over four hours, in luxurious comfort.

Now reflect on traveling speeds, if one maintains the rate of progress achieved in this field in the present century. Would supersonic traveling have seemed natural? Indeed, the term ‘natural’ is certainly relative. What is natural today was preternatural to our ancestors and may become, in our grandchildren’s view, primitive.

‘Natural’, in essence, signifies little more than ‘familiar’. One need only looks, with open eyes and mind, at the world to find that there are many miraculous facts which are readily accepted as ‘natural’ for no reason other than their familiarity. Every childbirth is a miracle, but it is simply overlooked because it occurs so often. One need only reflect over it a little to understand its miraculous nature.

In tackling such events as the night journey, one needs to remember only that they occur because God has willed that they should occur. To Him, there is no such’ thing as ‘natural’ or ‘preternatural’. He has created all the laws of nature, whether they are familiar or not. To Him the operation of all laws is equally easy. What is not understood of His actions is readily accepted, because the fact that His power is limitless is already accepted.

____________

Taken with slight modifications from www.the-faith.com

Emulating Rasulullah’s Work Ethic

Islam encourages its followers to strive and find sustenance in life. As Muslims, we need to realize that working is an obligation that has to be carried out. It is through work that we are able to fulfill our responsibilities such as providing for our wives, children, and parents. Additionally, we are also able to perform acts of worship such as making zakat and donations….

Islam encourages its followers to strive and find sustenance in life. As Muslims, we need to realize that working is an obligation that has to be carried out. It is through work that we are able to fulfill our responsibilities such as providing for our wives, children, and parents. Additionally, we are also able to perform acts of worship such as making zakat and donations. Let us observe what Allah mentioned in Surah Al-Qasas verse 77:

Which means: “But seek, through that which Allah has given you, the home of the Hereafter; and [yet], do not forget your share of the world. And do good as Allah has done good to you. And do not desire corruption in the land. Indeed, Allah does not like corrupters.” [Al-Quran, Surah Al-Qasas, verse 77].

Hence, the work we do must be carried out with honesty. Every task we perform in order to find halal sustenance is a form of servitude towards Allah. In fact, Rasulullah himself has shown us several work ethics for us to emulate. Therefore, allow me to share several guidelines that we can gather from the Sunnah of the Prophet to incorporate in our working life.

The First Guideline: Always Be Productive.
Be-positive-2Rasulullah encouraged us to perform our tasks to the best of our abilities. Read this hadith reported by Ibnu Majah:

Which means: “If one of you were to take his rope (or ropes) and go to the mountains, and bring a bundle of firewood on his back to sell, and thus become independent of means, that would be better for him than begging from people who may either give him something or not give him anything.” [Narrated by Ibnu Majah].

A believer is productive. He does not sit still, doing nothing whilst complaining about the lack of time and wealth. Regardless of the challenges that he is facing in life, a believer will not simply rely on help from others; he will also play his part in acquiring what is needed to provide for himself and his family.

The Second Guideline: Be Smart in Managing Time and The Tasks that Have Been Given.
ThinkstockPhotos-546202442 whiteIn this case, Rasulullah gave us numerous reminders to help us make full use of our time and do not idle it away. Rasulullah said in a hadith reported by Imam Al-Bukhari which means:

“There are two blessings which many people waste: health and free time.” [Narrated by Al-Bukhari].

Hence, whenever we are instructed to complete a certain task within a specific period of time, we should not delay nor should we postpone it to the next day. On the contrary, we must train ourselves to manage time well and prioritize the job that has been tasked upon us.

Indeed, a believer must always be mindful of his time. We are taught by this religion to be disciplined. Throughout each and every day of our lives, we are taught to be mindful of time. What are the prayer timings? When are the beginning and the end of Ramadan? When are the beginning and the end of other months in the Islamic calendar?

Every passing second is extremely valuable. It is the foundation for every person to produce and perform quality work. By paying attention and managing time well, we are trained to become more disciplined and efficient in our daily tasks. When we organize the tasks that we receive, the quality of our work will significantly improve.

An employee who manages situations smartly will not be easily shaken when faced with numerous tasks and responsibilities. This is because every second spent in the office is fully utilized. He carries out his given duties with trustworthiness and will not be easily distracted by the likes of his phone, social media and more.

The term “insyaAllah” that we have been taught should not be used as an excuse to procrastinate our work, as to how some people have done. Instead the blessed phrase – which means: “If Allah wills it” – is a manifestation of a person’s faith. A person who utters this phrase is surrendering all of his affairs to God, and he accepts that he is only capable of planning and that God is the One who determines everything.

The Last Guideline: Always Strive to Enhance Our Skills.
Islam encourages us to gain knowledge that will benefit us. Listen to what Allah. mentioned in the Quran when addressing Rasulullah in Surah Taha, verse 114:

Which means: “And say (O Muhammad), ‘My Lord, increase me in knowledge.’” [Al-Quran, Surah Taha, verse 114].

tutorial-banner-enhance-my-skills-pwdThis is such an appropriate reminder in today’s context, be it in the working world or otherwise. A believer will always have thirst for knowledge. This is because knowledge is the light that illuminates the difference between truth and falsehood. Knowledge enables a person to know Al-Khaliq; his Creator. Knowledge also elevates his status and through knowledge, a person can attain glory. Through knowledge, a person becomes humble, because he acknowledges that Allah. is the source of all knowledge.

In the working world, we recognize the fact that the world is constantly changing, due to rapid economic and technological developments. Something that used to be the norm in the past might not be relevant anymore nowadays. Therefore, it is our personal responsibility that, when faced with this challenge, we prepare ourselves by gaining knowledge and acquiring skills that are applicable and appropriate in today’s context. So let us grab the opportunity that has been laid out for us to improve our skills, whether it is by attending training courses, continuing our studies, or equipping ourselves with brand new skills.

As the ummah who loves the Prophet Muhammad, it is only fitting that we do our best to emulate his character and carry out what has been requested of us. Therefore, let us put due effort to fulfill our daily duties. With Allah’s will, our hard work will result in a prosperous and successful society in this world and the hereafter.

Dear Terrorism

Tellawell

Dear Terrorism,

Maybe you believed you triumphed, but let me tell you you haven’t.
I know what it feels like when you put your all into something
And you aren’t successful.
Yes, a lot of planning goes into carrying out the killing of innocents.
So, I can only imagine how frustrated you must be.

But fortunately, for those of us who have to endure in the wake of what you did,
You actually miscalculated a few things.
These things expose your fallibility.
Indeed evil is fallible
Because it delays submission to God.
But I know all things must submit to God eventually,
No matter how long they delay it.

Miscalculation Number One:

You did not consider that Ramadaan is fast-approaching.
So on the heels of your blood-spilling,
Muslims now have a fresh, visceral reminder
Of our mortality
And I believe we will take every day of fasting more seriously,
Give…

View original post 453 more words

Being Thankful for Allah’s Sustenance and Avoiding Corruption.

It is compulsory for all followers of Islam to seek lawful and good sustenance in terms of its source and the way it is being obtained. We are also commanded to give thanks for all the blessings and favors granted by Allah the Almighty as stated by Him in Surah al-Nahl, verse 114…..

It is compulsory for all followers of Islam to seek lawful and good sustenance in terms of its source and the way it is being obtained. We are also commanded to give thanks for all the blessings and favors granted by Allah the Almighty as stated by Him in Surah al-Nahl, verse 114:

Which means: “Then eat of what Allah has provided for you [which is] lawful and good. And be grateful for the favor of Allah, if it is [indeed] Him that you worship.” [Al-Quran, Surah al-Nahl, verse 114].

Among the major issues discussed in our country today is corruption. Corruption is not new in our country and every year the government through AntiCorruption Commission has been reporting worrying news about corruption. Citizens from all walks of life were found to be involved in corruption, including professional and advocacy groups, politicians and the public. What is more distressing is that many of those who are involved in corruption are the Muslims.

Corrupt practices include requesting and offering favors, accepting bribes, false claims, abuse of office for personal, family and certain group gains. It also includes what is referred to by the public as accepting cash or gifts in exchange for favors such as changing car tires for free, receiving paid for vacations, payment of bills, sexual favors, free home renovations, etc.

There exist voracious and greedy humans whose pursuit for wealth make them willing to commit the crime of corruption as stated Allah the Almighty in Surah al-Baqarah, verse 188:

Which means: “And do not consume one another’s wealth unjustly or send it [in bribery] to the rulers in order that [they might aid] you [to] consume a portion of the wealth of the people in sin, while you know [it is unlawful].” [Al-Quran, Surah al-Baqarah, verse 188].

Rampant corruption will cause injustice, indiscipline, neglect of duties and responsibilities, malpractice, negligence, breach of trust, forgery, betrayal and the like. Among the serious crime of corruption is the practice of delaying decisionmaking in the implementation of a project. For example, each party involved in the approval of the implementation of planned projects will ask for favors be it given to a specific individual or certain groups. This phenomenon is damaging the country’s administrative system leading the country to become chaotic and eventually, the glory of the country will be destroyed.

Allah the Almighty’s retribution toward those who give and receive corruption is hellfire. The Prophet said in a hadith narrated by al-Tabrani:

Which means: “Hellfire is the place for one who offers a bribe and the one who takes it.” [Narrated by al-Tabrani].

Taking bribe is likened to eating prohibited food. Every part of the body that develops or grow from prohibited sustenance will be placed in hell in the hereafter. The Prophet said in a hadith narrated by Imam Ahmad:

Which means: “The flesh and body that is raised on unlawful sustenance shall not enter Paradise. Hell is more deserving to the flesh that grows on one’s body out of unlawful sustenance.” [Narrated by Ahmad].

As Muslims we should have a firm stand about corruption. It is an unacceptable practice, whatever the reason may be such as ignorance about law and religion, a tradition of receiving gifts, etc. Rising costs of living, debts and low incomes do not condone one to practice bribery. Islam does not tolerate nor compromise in allowing corrupt practices because it is strictly prohibited by Allah the Almighty. It also involves the morality of the country in terms of race and religion.

The most saddening thing is that, in an effort to curb corruption, there are still some Muslims who take a stand to protect the corrupt practices that occur for several reasons. The reasons include compassion, not wanting to burden themselves, afraid of threats, not wanting to meddle in other peoples’ affairs and self-centered attitude which lead to uncontrolled corruption. Lack of responsibility, honesty and not cooperating with enforcement parties makes it difficult to bring the perpetrators of corruption to justice.

Thus, lets us fight against corrupt practices and lead our lives according to the right path. Let us be among those who enjoin others to do good so as to avoid corruption and the need to ask for favors, and protect ourselves from wrongdoings as commanded by Allah the Almighty in Surah Ali Imran, verse 104:

Which means: “And let there be [arising] from you a nation inviting to [all that is] good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong, and those will be successful.” [Al-Quran, Surah Ali Imran, verse 104].

Location and Nature of Arab Tribes (Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum).

Beyond a shadow of the doubt, the biography of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) manifestly represents an exhaustive embodiment of the sublime Divine Message that he communicated in order to deliver the human race from the swamp of darkness and polytheism to the paradise of light and monotheism. An image, authentic as well as comprehensive, of this Message, is therefore only attainable through careful study and profound analysis of both backgrounds and issues of such a biography…..

Beyond a shadow of the doubt, the biography of Prophet Muhammad manifestly represents an exhaustive embodiment of the sublime Divine Message that he communicated in order to deliver the human race from the swamp of darkness and polytheism to the paradise of light and monotheism. An image, authentic as well as comprehensive, of this Message, is therefore only attainable through careful study and profound analysis of both backgrounds and issues of such a biography. In view of this, a whole chapter is here introduced about the nature and development of Arab tribes prior to Islam as well as the circumstantial environment that enwrapped the Prophet’s mission.

Location Of The Arabs:
Linguistically, the word “Arab” means deserts and waste barren land well-nigh waterless and treeless. Ever since the dawn of history, the Arabian Peninsula and its people have been called as such.

The Arabian Peninsula is enclosed in the west by the Red Sea and Sinai, in the east by the Arabian Gulf, in the south by the Arabian Sea, which is an extension of the Indian Ocean, and in the north by old Syria and part of Iraq. The area is estimated between a million and a million and a quarter square miles.

Thanks to its geographical position, the peninsula has always maintained great importance. Considering its internal setting, it is mostly deserts and sandy places, which has rendered it inaccessible to foreigners and invaders, and allowed its people complete liberty and independence through the ages, despite the presence of two neighboring great empires.

It’s an external setting, on the other hand, caused it to be the center of the old world and provided it with sea and land links with most nations at the time. Thanks to this strategic position the Arabian Peninsula had become the center for trade, culture, religion, and art.

Arab Tribes:
Arab kinfolks have been divided according to lineage into three groups:

  1. Perishing Arabs: The ancient Arabs, of whose history little is known, and of whom were ‘Ad, Thamûd, Tasam, Jadis, Emlaq, and others.
  2. Pure Arabs: Who originated from the progeny of Ya‘rub bin Yashjub bin Qahtan. They were also called Qahtanian Arabs.
  3. Arabized Arabs: Who originated from the progeny of Ishmael. They were also called ‘Adnanian Arabs.

The pure Arabs – the people of Qahtan – originally lived in Yemen and comprised many tribes, two of which were very famous:

  1. Himyar: The most famous of whose septs were Zaid Al-Jamhur, Quda‘a, and Sakasic.
  2. Kahlan: The most famous of whose septs were Hamdan, Anmar, Tai’, Mudhhij, Kinda, Lakhm, Judham, Azd, Aws, Khazraj and the descendants of Jafna — the kings of old Syria.

Kahlan septs emigrated from Yemen to dwell in the different parts of the Arabian Peninsula prior to the Great Flood (Sail Al-‘Arim of Ma’rib Dam), due to the failure of trade under the Roman pressure and domain on both sea and land trade routes following the Roman occupation of Egypt and Syria. Naturally enough, the competition between Kahlan and Himyar led to the evacuation of the first and the settlement of the second in Yemen.

The Emigrating Septs of Kahlan Can be Into Four Groups:

  1. Azd: Who, under the leadership of ‘Imran bin ‘Amr Muzaiqbâ’, wandered in Yemen, sent pioneers and finally headed northwards. Details of their emigration can be summed up as follows:
  2. Tha‘labah bin ‘Amr left his tribe Al-Azd for Hijaz and dwelt between Tha‘labiyah and Dhi Qar. When he gained strength, he headed for Madinah where he stayed. Of his seed are Aws and Khazraj, sons of Haritha bin Tha‘labah. Haritha bin ‘Amr, known as Khuza‘a, wandered with his folks in Hijaz until they came to Mar Az-Zahran. Later, they conquered the Haram and settled in Makkah after having driven away its people, the tribe of Jurhum. ‘Imran bin ‘Amr and his folks went to ‘Oman where they established the tribe of Azd whose children inhabited Tihama and were known as Azd-of-Shanu’a. Jafna bin ‘Amr and his family, headed for Syria where he settled and initiated the kingdom of Ghassan who was so named after a spring of water, in Hijaz, where they stopped on their way to Syria.
  3. Lakhm and Judham: Of whom was Nasr bin Rabi‘a, father of Manadhira, Kings of Heerah.
  4. Banu Tai’: Who also emigrated northwards to settle by the so-called Aja and Salma Mountains which were consequently named as Tai’ Mountains.
  5. Kinda: Who dwelt in Bahrain but were expelled to Hadramout and Najd where they instituted a powerful government but not for long, for the whole tribe soon faded away.

Another tribe of Himyar, known as Quda‘a, also left Yemen and dwelt in Samawa semidesert on the borders of Iraq.

The Arabized Arabs go back in ancestry to their great grandfather Abraham from a town called “Ar” near Kufa on the west bank of the Euphrates in Iraq. Excavations brought to light great details of the town, Abraham’s family, and the prevalent religions and social circumstances.

It is known that Abraham left Ar for Harran and then for Palestine, which he made headquarters for his Message. He wandered all over the area. When he went to Egypt, the Pharaoh tried to do evil to his wife Sarah, but Allâh saved her and the Pharaoh’s wicked scheme recoiled on him. He thus came to realize her strong attachment to Allâh, and, in acknowledgment of her grace, the Pharaoh rendered his daughter Hagar (Hajar) at Sarah’s service, but Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham as a wife.

Abraham returned to Palestine where Hagar gave birth to Ishmael. Sarah became so jealous of Hagar that she forced Abraham to send Hagar and her baby away to a plantless valley on a small hill in Hijaz, by the Sacred House, exposed to the wearing of floods coming right and left. He chose for them a place under a lofty tree above Zamzam near the upper side of the Mosque in Makkah where neither people nor water was available and went back to Palestine leaving with his wife and baby a leather case with some dates and a pot of water. Not before long, they ran out of both food and water, but thanks to Allâh’s favor water gushed forth to sustain them for some time. The whole story of Zamzam spring is already known to everybody.

Another Yemeni tribe – Jurhum the Second – came and lived in Makkah upon Hagar’s permission, after being said to have lived in the valleys around Makkah. It is mentioned in the Sahih Al-Bukhari that this tribe came to Makkah before Ishmael was a young man while they had passed through that valley long before this event.

Abraham used to go to Makkah every now and then to see his wife and son. The number of these journeys is still unknown, but authentic historical resources spoke of four ones. Allâh, the Sublime, stated in the Noble Qur’ân that He had Abraham see, in his dream, that he slaughtered his son Ishmael, and therefore Abraham stood up to fulfill His Order:

“Then, when they had both submitted themselves (to the Will of Allâh), and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (or on the side of his forehead for slaughtering); and We called out to him: “O Abraham! You have fulfilled the dream (vision)!” Verily! Thus do we reward the Muhsinûn (good-doers, who perform good deeds totally for Allâh’s sake only, without any show off or to gain praise or fame, etc. and do them in accordance to Allâh’s Orders). Verily, that indeed was a manifest trial — and We ransomed him with a great sacrifice (i.e. a ram)” [37:103-107]

It is mentioned in the Genesis that Ishmael was thirteen years older than his brother Ishaq. The sequence of the story of the sacrifice of Ishmael shows that it really happened before Ishaq’s birth and that Allâh’s Promise to give Abraham another son, Ishaq, came after narration of the whole story.

This story spoke of one journey – at least – before Ishmael became a young man. Al-Bukhari, on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas, reported the other three journeys; a summary of which goes as follows: When Ishmael became a young man, he learned Arabic at the hand of the tribe of Jurhum, who loved him with great admiration and gave him one of their women as a wife, soon after his mother died. Having wanted to see his wife and son again, Abraham came to Makkah, Ishmael’s marriage, but he didn’t find him at home. He asked Ishmael’s wife about her husband and how they were doing. She complained of poverty, so he asked her to tell Ishmael to change his doorstep. Ishmael understood the message, divorced his wife and got married to the daughter of Mudad bin ‘Amr, chief of the tribe of Jurhum.

Once more, Abraham came to see his son but again didn’t find him at home. He asked his new wife the same previous question, to which she thanked Allâh. Abraham asked her to tell Ishmael to keep his doorstep (i.e. to keep her as wife) and went back to Palestine.

A third time, Abraham came to Makkah to find Ishmael sharpening an arrow under a lofty tree near Zamzam. The meeting, after a very long journey of separation, was very touching for a father so affectionate and a so dutiful and righteous son. This time, father and son built Al-Ka‘bah and raised its pillars, and Abraham, in compliance with Allâh’s Commandment, called unto people to make a pilgrimage to it.

By the grace of Allâh, Ishmael had twelve sons from the daughter of Mudad, whose names were Nabet, Qidar, Edbael, Mebsham, Mishma’, Duma, Micha, Hudud, Yetma, Yetour, Nafis and Qidman, and who ultimately formed twelve tribes inhabiting Makkah and trading between Yemen, geographical Syria and Egypt. Later on, these tribes spread all over, and even outside, the peninsula. All their tidings went into oblivion except for the descendants of Nabet and Qidar.

The Nabeteans – sons of Nabet – established a flourishing civilization in the north of Hijaz, they instituted a powerful government which spread out its domain over all neighboring tribes and made Petra their capital. Nobody dared challenge their authority until the Romans came and managed to eliminate their kingdom. After extensive research and painstaking investigation, Mr. Sulaiman An-Nadwi came to the conclusion that the Ghassanide kings, along with the Aws and Khazraj were not likely to be Qahtanians but rather Nabeteans.

Descendants of Qidar, the son of Ishmael, lived long in Makkah increasing in number, of them issued ‘Adnan and son Ma‘ad, to whom ‘Adnanian Arabs traced back their ancestry. ‘Adnan is the twenty-first grandfather in the series of the Prophetic ancestry. It was said that whenever Prophet Muhammad spoke of his ancestry he would stop at ‘Adnan and say: “Genealogists tell lies” and did not go farther than him. A group of scholars, however, favored the probability of going beyond ‘Adnan attaching no significance to the aforementioned Prophetic Hadith. They went on to say that there were exactly forty fathers between ‘Adnan and Abraham.

Nizar, Ma‘ad’s only son, had four sons who branched out into four great tribes; Eyad, Anmar, Rabi‘a, and Mudar. These last two sub-branched into several septs. Rabi‘a fathered Asad, ‘Anazah, ‘Abdul Qais, and Wa’il’s two sons (Bakr and Taghlib), Hanifa and many others.

Mudar tribes branched out into two great divisions: Qais ‘Ailan bin Mudar and septs of Elias bin Mudar. Of Qais ‘Ailan were the Banu Saleem, Banu Hawazin, and Banu Ghatafan of whom descended ‘Abs, Zubyan, Ashja‘ and Ghani bin A‘sur. Of Elias bin Mudar were Tamim bin Murra, Hudhail bin Mudrika, Banu Asad bin Khuzaimah and septs of Kinana bin Khuzaimah, of whom came Quraish, the descendants of Fahr bin Malik bin An-Nadr bin Kinana.

Quraish branched out into various tribes, the most famous of whom were Jumah, Sahm, ‘Adi, Makhzum, Tayim, Zahra and the three septs of Qusai bin Kilab: ‘Abdud-Dar bin Qusai, Asad bin ‘Abdul ‘Uzza bin Qusai and ‘Abd Manaf bin Qusai.

‘Abd Manaf branched out into four tribes: ‘Abd Shams, Nawfal, Muttalib and Hashim. It is, however, from the family of Hashim that Allâh selected Prophet Muhammad bin ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abdul-Muttalib bin Hashim.

Prophet Muhammad said:

“Allâh selected Ishmael from the sons of Abraham, Kinana from the sons of Ishmael, Quraish from the sons of Kinana, Hashim from the sons of Quraish and He selected me from the sons of Hashim.”

Al-‘Abbas bin ‘Abdul-Muttalib quoted the Messenger of Allâh as saying:

“Allâh created mankind and chose me from the best whereof, He chose the tribes and selected me from the best whereof; and He chose families and selected me from the best whereof. I am the very best in person and family.”

Having increased in number, children of ‘Adnan, in pursuit of pastures and water, spread out over various parts of Arabia.

The tribe of ‘Abdul Qais, together with some septs of Bakr bin Wa’il and Tamim, emigrated to Bahrain where they dwelt.

Banu Hanifa bin Sa‘b bin Ali bin Bakr went to settle in Hijr, the capital of Yamama. All the tribes of Bakr bin Wa’il lived in an area of land which included Yamama, Bahrain, Saif Kazima, the seashore, the outer borders of Iraq, Ablah and Hait.

Most of the tribe of Taghlib lived in the Euphrates area while some of them lived with Bakr. Banu Tamim lived in Basra semi-desert.

Banu Saleem lived in the vicinity of Madinah on the land stretching from Wadi Al-Qura to Khaibar onwards to the eastern mountains to Harrah.

Thaqif dwelt in Ta’if and Hawazin east of Makkah near Autas on the road from Makkah to Basra. Banu Asad lived on the land east of Taimâ’ and west of Kufa, while the family of Tai’ lived between Banu Asad and Taimâ’. They were five-day-walk far from Kufa.

Zubyan inhabited the plot of and between Taimâ’ and Hawran.

Some septs of Kinana lived in Tihama, while septs of Quraish dwelt in Makkah and its suburbs. Quraish remained completely disunited until Qusai bin Kilab managed to rally their ranks on honorable terms attaching major prominence to their status and importance.

Sources: Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum.

Satan Last Confession

Surah Ibrahim (14): 21-23

وَبَرَزُوا لِلَّهِ جَمِيعًا فَقَالَ الضُّعَفَاءُ لِلَّذِينَ اسْتَكْبَرُوا إِنَّا كُنَّا لَكُمْ تَبَعًا فَهَلْ أَنْتُمْ مُغْنُونَ عَنَّا مِنْ عَذَابِ اللَّهِ مِنْ شَيْءٍ قَالُوا لَوْ هَدَانَا اللَّهُ لَهَدَيْنَاكُمْ سَوَاءٌ عَلَيْنَا أَجَزِعْنَا أَمْ صَبَرْنَا مَا لَنَا مِنْ مَحِيصٍ

“And they will come out [for judgment] before Allah all together, and the weak will say to those who were arrogant, “Indeed, we were your followers, so can you avail us anything against the punishment of Allah ?” They will say, “If Allah had guided us, we would have guided you. It is all the same for us whether we show intolerance or are patient: there is for us no place of escape.” [Surah Ibrahim (14): 21]

وَقَالَ الشَّيْطَانُ لَمَّا قُضِيَ الأَمْرُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَعَدَكُمْ وَعْدَ الْحَقِّ وَوَعَدْتُكُمْ فَأَخْلَفْتُكُمْ وَمَا كَانَ لِي عَلَيْكُمْ مِنْ سُلْطَانٍ إِلاَّ أَنْ دَعَوْتُكُمْ فَاسْتَجَبْتُمْ لِي فَلاَ تَلُومُونِي وَلُومُوا أَنْفُسَكُمْ مَا أَنَا بِمُصْرِخِكُمْ وَمَا أَنْتُمْ بِمُصْرِخِيَّ إِنِّي كَفَرْتُ بِمَا أَشْرَكْتُمُونِي مِنْ قَبْلُ إِنَّ الظَّالِمِينَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ

And Satan will say when the matter has been concluded, “Indeed, Allah had promised you the promise of truth. And I promised you, but I betrayed you. But I had no authority over you except that I invited you, and you responded to me. So do not blame me, but blame yourselves. I cannot be called to your aid, nor can you be called to my aid. Indeed, I deny your association of me [with Allah ] before. Indeed, for the wrongdoers is a painful punishment. [Surah Ibrahim (14): 22]

وَأُدْخِلَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهِمْ تَحِيَّتُهُمْ فِيهَا سَلاَمٌ

And those who believed and did righteous deeds will be admitted to gardens beneath which rivers flow, abiding eternally therein by permission of their Lord; and their greeting therein will be, “Peace!” [Surah Ibrahim (14): 23]

The Ant Prays For Rain

Once there was a big famine in Palestine. It was during the time of the Prophet Sulaiman (King Solomon). He came out with his people and proceeded to an open place in the desert to pray for the rains to come. Suddenly, he saw an ant standing on its two legs, raising its hands up towards the sky and saying….

Once there was a big famine in Palestine. It was during the time of the Prophet Sulaiman (King Solomon). He came out with his people and proceeded to an open place in the desert to pray for the rains to come. Suddenly, he saw an ant standing on its two legs, raising its hands up towards the sky and saying,

“Oh, Allah! We are but very small among all Thy creatures. We cannot survive without Thy grace. Please bestow upon us Thy sustenance and do not punish us because of the sins of human beings. Please send down the rains so that trees can grow, farms become green and grains become available and we have our food to eat.”

Prophet Sulaiman knew the language of all animals. He told his people, “Let us go home. The prayer of this ant is enough.” It then rained heavily and all the land became green and productive.

guillaume-de-germain-1031540-unsplashThe ant is an intelligent creature. During warm days it collects and stores grain inside the holes. It knows that during wet and cold months, it would not be able to go out to search for food. For fear that grain may start growing because of wetness, it splits it into two or more pieces. At times, during moonlit nights, it brings the split grains out of the stores for drying and preservation against decay.

The holes under the ground are made very carefully and covered with a shelter to prevent the rainwater from getting inside the holes. The ant, unlike the other animals, can lift a burden twice its own weight. It is not a selfish creature. When an ant finds some store of food grains, it runs up to its group and takes its fellow ants to that place. It shows every one of them its own find of the store. They always behave in this manner. They work and live in co-operation with each other.

salmen-bejaoui-1100721-unsplashThis shows how the ant works for the group and how each of them fulfills the needs and livelihood of its fellow-beings. How shameful it is for a man, who has no regard for another man; who has no concern for his fellow human beings who could be starving because of want of food.

Once, while Prophet Sulaiman was traveling together with hosts of men, jinn, and birds, they reached a valley of ants.

When the chief of these ants witnessed the pomp and the glory with which Prophet Sulaiman and his companions were approaching toward it. He warned all the ants to get into their holes lest they got trampled and crushed unknowingly by the approaching men and Jinn. Prophet Sulaiman smiled at this warning sounded by the ants’ chief and ordered his companions to wait till the ants went inside their holes. “None of us should hurt any ants while passing over their land”, he said.

It is said that Prophet Sulaiman addressed the chief of the ants and said: “How could my people hurt you or your fellow ants when they are floating through the air! Don’t you know that I am a messenger of God and would never act unfairly?” The chief of the ants replied: “O Messenger of God! My cautioning the ants was not for any hurt that they would suffer but to prevent them from getting astray and forgetting the glory of God after seeing your pomp and show.”

ant-antenna-color-1086882There is a deep meaning in this event. It shows that even the most humble and smallest of creatures has been endowed with the necessary wisdom to live safely and avoid being hurt as far as possible. It also shows, how even small ants do have a natural understanding of the true position of Allah. It imparts a lesson that one should not forget the true might and glory of Allah when one experiences a great power and dignity of any creature in this world.

Thus an Ant is one of the most wonderful small creatures in this world. Sura “Naml” (the Ant) in the Holy Qur’an is a chapter named after this creature. Over 1300 years ago, Ali was giving a sermon in Kufa, in which he was describing the beauties of creation in various forms of life. He was referring to small creatures and asking man to study how God made them so small yet so sturdy and strong. He described the ant in these words:

‘Look at an ant. How tiny is its body and how delicate are its features! It is such a small creature that it often escapes the eye, and few people care to attach any importance to it among the living beings found on this earth. Look at it and study its ways of life; how it crawls, how it attacks its food; how it lifts a grain so many times heavier than its body, carries it to its hole; how it stores grains; and how in summer it gathers and stocks food for winter and rainy days.’

Sources: https://www.al-islam.org/islamic-stories/ant-prays-rain